Dixon: Indy 500 qualifying performance ‘huge’ for entire Ganassi team

Scott Dixon celebrates pole position with the Chip Ganassi Racing team

Scott Dixon says Chip Ganassi Racing’s showing in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 is “huge” for the entire team.

The 2008 Indy 500 winner qualified on pole position for the 106th running of the race, but all five Ganassi cars made the Fast 12, and four got through to the Fast Six.

The team was already guaranteed first position on the starting grid when Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay could not better Alex Palou’s four-lap average, with just Dixon to come in Car #9.

He then went and set the fastest four-lap pole run in the event’s history, a 234.046mph (376.661km/h), albeit the second-fastest qualifying run after Arie Luijendijk’s 236.986mph (381.392km/h) in 1996.

“I think it was huge, but not just for the 9 car; I think, for Chip [Ganassi] and his whole group,” said Dixon.

“Huge credit to every single person on the team; that was definitely a feat.

“Five cars in the Fast 12, four in the Fast Six; every team owner would dream of that situation, and I think without the hiccup that Jimmie [Johnson] had, it would have been all of us in there.

“Kudos to Chip and everybody on the team; kudos to Honda and HPD.

“The amount of effort that goes into qualifying alone is kind of mind-boggling.

“I think even for us that are in the team and in this kind of community, just how much goes into it is crazy.

“For the team to see that and for it to pay off is huge.”

Dixon admitted he was somewhat fortunate to get through to the Fast 12 after calls that he and engineer Michael Cannon made on set-up, but said the tweaks between the Fast 12 and Fast Six paid off.

In fact, he claimed to have even nearly crashed, despite being quickest also in the Fast 12.

“Not a lot,” said the New Zealander as to what changed on the car between his Pole Day runs.

“For us the biggest effect lately has been the ambient conditions.

“From the first run, I was glad to get out of that car because I nearly crashed in Turn 2 on the last lap and had to get out of it and went for the brake as well.

“Luckily, we were covered and able to still have a great speed and top actually of the first 12.

“I knew once we had a clean run, we were going to have tremendous speed [but] I can’t go into details of what we changed because it made us go faster.”

Dixon, Palou, and VeeKay share the front row, while the latter’s team boss Ed Carpenter heads up Row 2, from Marcus Ericsson and Rinus VeeKay.

In the #48 Ganassi entry, Johnson qualified 12th after, as Dixon referred to, he had a big understeer moment at Turn 1 on his first lap.

All 33 drivers in the field are back on track tomorrow for Practice 8, a two-hour session kicking off at 03:00 AEST.

Stan Sport will carry live and ad-free coverage of next weekend’s race on Monday from 01:00 AEST.

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